Whether or not you’re a die hard fan of football, many of us tune in as “ad” spectators on the big day. With 30-second spots going for close to a record $7 million dollars this year, many brands aired messages with a unique TWIST – a fresh perspective that breaks through. Read on to discover some of the ones we’ve chosen as “winners” and what your brand can learn from them. 

  1. Spotlight a social issue – that makes sense for your product

This Hellman’s ad  “Make Taste. Not Waste” literally tackles the issue of food waste, by having famed Linebacker Jerod Mayo (a former Super Bowl Champ) tackle consumers who are about to toss food that can be used for leftovers.  The use of Mayo for this mayonnaise brand is inspired. The surprise celebrity TWIST of Pete Davidson’s appearance at the end is also a fun surprise. But what we love about this ad is that Hellmann’s is putting a direct hit on an important issue that can be related back to their brand. After all, many recipes for “leftovers” feature mayonnaise. Too many brands fumble by promoting important issues that seem way outside of their brand remit. We think Hellmann’s scores a touchdown with this one.

How can you take a page from Hellmann’s playbook and TWIST to connect with a social cause that’s a natural fit for your brand?

  1. Engage your target with some teasers that build suspense

This T-Mobile Teaser uses two wonderful personal brands Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton that are connected in real life (godmother and goddaughter) to build suspense for their Super Bowl ad. Using the tagline “What would Dolly do?” – a TWIST on another famous quote, they build anticipation for the T-Mobile campaign. This is paid off with a series of spots that reveal a fundraiser with the theme “Do It For the Phones”, another TWIST on the omnipresent star-studded fundraiser. Our favorite is this one where Dolly proves that she’s got a sense of humor about her own brand and is not above making fun of herself.

How can your brand TWIST to build anticipation? This could be for an event, a new logo, website, product launch etc. Too often we ignore the valuable “build up” opportunity to engage with targets.

  1. Find a Brand Promise that connects your product to an emotional benefit

We love so many things about this Lay’s commercial starring comedians Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen. First of all the product is front and center, not plugged in as an afterthought. They are sitting on the stoop, pre-wedding, and reminiscing over a shared bag of Lays potato chips. Each dip into the bag and bite of a chip unlocks a memory of a special moment together. We also love the fun and exaggerated TWISTS on the movie genres.  But the real payoff is in the touchingly creepy moment at the end with the tagline “Stay Golden”.

After 75 years, Lay’s is reminding us to Stay Golden™ through life’s moments. This is exactly the kind of Brand Idea we aim for with our BrandTwist clients and students. It ties to the product (gold chip in a gold bag), and has an emotional promise, reminding us that being with friends and eating potato chips is central to creating shared memories. In our TWIST Book we call this a “top of the pyramid” promise. 

How can you TWIST your Brand Idea (Brand Promise) so it connects to your product and promises something more emotional?

  1. A modern take on a well-known tongue TWISTER

Many kids grow up memorizing the “she sells, seashells by the seashore” tongue TWISTER. Squarespace leverages this familiarity and TWISTS it up in a clever spot starring Millennial darling Zendaya. She takes “seashell selling” to new heights with a website powered by Squarespace. Again, we love how the product is integrated into the story and also the verbal TWISTs throughout – like the “aw Shucks” pun at the end. Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just take something tried and true and add a fresh TWIST.

How can you take something nostalgic for your target and add a fresh TWIST?

  1. TWIST with what’s relevant to your target now

As we saw with many ads during last night’s game, nostalgia was all the rage. Several spots focused on warming the hearts of millennials with memories of their younger years, but the nostalgia-packed Rocket Mortgage commercial brought its own TWIST: showing the product in action while bringing the humor with Barbie as she attempts to purchase her Dream House in a competitive market. Using a childhood toy to connect with those looking to buy homes now is a TWIST we didn’t see coming! Well, that and the surprise appearances from He-Man and Skeletor. Anna Kendrick as the spokesperson works here without feeling like the spot relied solely on her star power for entertainment, which, in a sea of celebrity cameos, is always nice to see.

How can your brand connect with a new generation entering your target demographic?

What were your favorite TWISTS in the ads during last night’s game? Let us know in the comments!

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Julie is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build stronger, more profitable brands.


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